Monday, June 25, 2012

Week 31

So the roller coaster ride that is the mission continued on this week. There were some wonderful high points and some horrible low points, but that's kind of what I've come to expect. Overall, I think there is improvement being made though, both personally and as a companionship.
One example of the roller coaster is the guy we found Saturday of last week. We had gone to contact a reference, but she wasn't home. Instead, we found a guy named Roberto, who talked to us quite a bit. The sad part was that he was TOTALLY wasted- it seemed like he had been drinking for the whole day cuz a lot of things he said didn't make any sense. We talked to him for a good 15 minutes, but nothing really happened in the conversation and we figured he wouldn't remember it the next day anyway. But boy were we wrong! He came up to my companion the next day (we were on splits, so I wasn't there) and asked if he could talk with us and listen to our message. This time he was sober, so my comp set up an appointment with him. To be honest, neither of us thought he would be there for the appointment, but there he was, waiting for us. We made some goals to help him with his drinking problem, and set up another appointment. We ended up having five appointments with him just last week, and he was sober for every one of them! And when we talked about baptism, he asked us straight up "When will be my baptism?" When he said that, my comp and I just looked at each other and smiled, amazed at our good fortune. But then there was another twist to the story on Friday. You see, Roberto is extremely poor. He lost his job, mainly because of his drinking problem, and now he barely has enough money to buy food each day. We enlisted the help of some members to feed him a few meals, but everyone was hoping he would be able to find a job soon. He told us on Saturday that he might leave San Marcos permanently to search for a job in the city... and then he wasn't on church on Sunday... and that's when we were worried that our golden investigator had just disappeared off the face of the earth. But we were walking through the park this morning and saw him again! He said he found some work Sunday morning and couldn't make it to church, but he'll come next week. So we have another appointment with him, and we'll see how it goes this week. To be continued...
Also, we'll have another baptism July 7. It's an 18-year old girl named Catherine who works for (and lives with) one of the members in the ward. As long as she goes to church next week, we'll be headed to the river again haha.
In other news, I got sick again last night. Once again, I knew exactly what had made me sick. We had some strange mystery meat for dinner at our cook's house last night. I only took like 5 bites of it, and left the rest on the plate (and I NEVER leave food on my plate, so you know it was bad). Anyway, it only took about 3 hours for those 5 bites of meat to kick in. And when I say "kick in," I mean it felt like Mike Tyson was punching me repeatedly in the stomach. I barely got any sleep (probably about 2 hours) because of the pain. But luckily when we went to our cook's house again today for lunch, she gave me some medicine to help my fever (another of the symptoms), some tea to help with my stomach pain, and a banana licuado! I still don't feel that great, but I at least felt good enough to take a quick nap during the afternoon to help my sleep deficit
That's it for another crazy week in San Marcos. Special shout out to Tyler, Ashlee, Michael, and Sister Jones for their letters! And just so Tyler knows, I got these letters on the 19th, which means it takes about 3 weeks for dearelders to get to me.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Week 30

You know, it's pretty amazing how much help we get as missionaries. Last week was one of the roughest weeks of my life (I'm not sure if my parents put all the negative stuff on the blog, but if they did, you guys know that it was pretty rough). But it made the success of this week that much sweeter! I guess it's good to have that "opposition in all things" part of the gospel :)
The main success? Another baptism, of course! That pretty much always makes it a good week. And what makes it even better was that I completed one of my secret mission goals by performing a baptism in a river! Pretty sweet, right? It was actually a pretty interesting experience for a couple reasons... First, the only place that had enough water to do a baptism was right next to a drop-off that created a mini-waterfall. Kind of cool, except I had to yell the baptismal prayer so the witnesses could hear me haha. Second, we had to kick a bunch of people out that were swimming in the river. So there were just a bunch of people there wondering what these crazy Mormons were doing and giving us weird looks. It was definitely a unique experience... and pretty awesome considering Eleazer (our investigator turned member) accepted the covenant of baptism!
Speaking of unique experiences, Sunday was probably one of the most hectic days of my mission. It all started in the morning, when the 1st counselor of the branch presidency told us we had to give talks in Sacrament meeting. We had to go to a few investigators' houses to invite them to church, so that left me 15 minutes to prepare a 10 minute talk. Not exactly the ideal situation for my first sacrament talk in Spanish. But the talk actually went pretty well! At least I thought so anyway... maybe nobody understood a word I said. Haha just kidding, my Spanish is actually pretty good now (interesting story about that later). Anyway, after church, we did splits with the Branch President and the Ward Mission Leader. I went with the Branch President and visited some inactive members and a couple investigators. It was the first time I've gone on splits in the mission, and it was quite fun. And I realized our Branch President is a really good teacher too! Later that day, after my companion and I had reunited, we visited an inactive family, where the girl was studying English. They asked me to say the opening prayer, but before I started, the girl asked if I could say it in English. So I tried it out, and it was SOOO HARD! It kinda freaked me out cuz I can't even pray normally in my native language! I guess that's what happens when you pray for 7 months straight in a different language haha
Ok, that's all for this week. Hopefully, I can figure out this Honduran computer and share the pictures from the baptism with you guys. If they're on the blog, you know that I was successful. If not, well I'll try to figure it out next week. Haha have a good week- stay safe and avoid fried pig skin! :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Week 29

Not to be negative, but this was just one of those weeks where everything seemed to go wrong. It all started Wednesday night at our dinner appointment...
So we went to a recent convert's house to eat dinner, which consisted of tortillas, beans, rice, and cheese (like EVERY meal in Honduras). But it also included an unusual, foreign, fried object that I had never seen before. My policy with food is to not ask what it is and just eat it. So that's what I did. It really didn't taste that bad (although super unhealthy), but I just had the feeling that it was going to make me sick. But, as a result of my kindness and generosity, I ate everything on the plate. At about 11:00 the next day, my prediction came true. I got a horrible pain in my stomach and a fever, with some other symptoms that I'd rather not mention (read between the lines haha). And to make matters worse, it had to be one of the hottest days since I've been in Honduras. At least triple digits... I suffered through the day, and we actually had some success. We set a baptismal date in one of our appointments (more on that later), and I was starting to feel a little better. But then, we took a bus ride back home, and my stomach started churning. Luckily, we got to our stop, so everything I had eaten the last two days ended up in the bushes on the side of the road. It wasn't pretty. But the positive was that I felt a lot better! The negative was that it didn't last. For Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning, I battled the after-effects of the sickness while trying to be somewhat successful as a missionary. Oh, and I asked my comp the next day what the strange food was. Apparently, it was chiccaron, or fried pig skin. I won't be eating that again haha
Also, our missionary work took a hit as a result of my sickness. We weren't able to make a handful of our visits, partly because of that and partly because the lights go out at 7 about every other day here. And as missionaries, we have to return to the house if the power goes out. Actually, the power went out twice while I was typing this blog entry! It's extremely frustrating :( We only had one investigator show up to church, and it wasn't Eleazar, the guy who we scheduled for baptism this coming Saturday. My comp says he has come to church three times though, which is the requirement for baptism. I'm a little skeptical about that, but he was the one in the area and I gotta trust him. Also, I mentioned that we set another baptismal date. Sadly, the lady had to go to a different part of Honduras for her job, and won't be back for another week. So... that kinda didn't end up going as planned. And after that, we don't really have many opportunities, which is the biggest reason I'm frustrated about this past week.
In a funny story of the week, I found out that my comp has false front teeth. One morning, he was washing them in our sink, and I came to ask him something. He turned around and smiled... without his front four teeth. It was creepy. And I had no idea what to say, in English or Spanish. He just laughed about my reaction, and told me he got in an accident when he was younger. So ya, that was definitely interesting...
Well, the good news is that I'm healthy now and ready to get to work this next week. Hopefully, we'll have a baptism that I can tell you guys about too! Stay safe and watch out for chiccaron hahahaha

Monday, June 4, 2012

Week 28

Hey everyone, hope you all had a good week! Mine was very long... time seems to slow down when I go to a different place and start up a different routine. But there is a lot of news to talk about, so I'll get right to it!
Obviously, the biggest news is that I'm in a different area! It's called San Marcos, and it's about 80 miles west of San Pedro Sula. Also, it's in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, there's like nothing here. For example, I've been trying to find peanut butter for the last 4 days and have been unsuccessful. It's been a big adjustment since I was in the city in my last area, with big stores, restaurants, and other American-like things. As far as the church here, there's only a branch. Apparently, there are about 300 members, but the attendance is usually about 80 or 90 (a bunch of inactives). However, they just finished a new chapel three weeks ago (they were meeting in a house before), so there is some enthusiasm about that. There are all kinds of problems with the branch here though- inexperienced leaders, insufficient members to fill all the leadership positions, and tons of inactives to name a few. However, I feel like the branch has a lot of potential if we can just get everyone working together (that will be a challenge, but my comp and I have some ideas). As far as missionary work goes, we set up a baptismal date on the 16th the day after I got here. I can't take much credit for that one haha. And we have some other possibilities, such as a family of 5 that we're pretty excited about. I'll have an update on that next week though...
The other big change was my companion. His name is Elder Xol (pronounced Shole), and he's from Guatemala. He's only been out for about 10 months, and just recently became senior companion. We get along pretty well, and seem to have some chemistry in our lessons. We've made a deal that he'll help me with any Spanish that I don't know, and I'll help him with his English (he hardly knows any, so my lessons are pretty basic right now).
Ok, I'm not really sure why, but I have a bunch of crazy stories this week:
1. I saw my first fistfight in Honduras. It happened on the 90 minute bus ride from San Pedro to San Marcos when this one teenager kept pestering his friend. The guy put up with it for a while, but then he stood up, yelled something at his friend in Spanish (I'm not really sure what, but I'm assuming it was cuss words that I don't know), put him in a headlock, and started punching him in the face. I was kinda freaking out at this point, but everybody else on the bus was just watching and letting them "work things out." It only lasted about 3 minutes and luckily, the guy didn't get any good punches in, but he still beat up his friend pretty good. After it was over, they went back to their seats like nothing happened.
2. There were people from the States that came to San Marcos to give free medical help to the people here. Two of them happened to be former missionaries, and saw us walking by. They came and talked to us (English with me, Spanish with my comp), and we showed them around the new chapel. It was good seeing some fellow Gringos :)
3. So my MTC comp, Elder Hebert, and I were joking about following each other around for the whole mission since he was changing areas too. Well, it turns out the revelation agreed with us because he's in my district now! Haha it's so awesome cuz we'll still see each other at least once a week still! And we're going to try to convince our district leader to let us go on divisions and be comps for a day. It probably won't work, but it's worth a shot haha
Well, I wish I could write more, but I don't have much more time. I'll share the rest of my stories next week and hopefully have some positive news about the missionary work here! :)